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Warning on cheap skin-lightening cream

THE FOOD and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday warned teenagers and young people about substandard whitening cosmetics, which are increasingly popular due to low prices and their easy availability from the Internet and beauty salons.

FDA's deputy secretary-general Praphon Angtrakool said an increasing volume of substandard cosmetics purporting to whiten skins has hit the market, some sold by the kilogram or in small jars with no labels or FDA certification.

"The whitening cosmetics are now widely advertised on the Internet and buyers, usually teens and students, are attracted to the goods due to their much cheaper prices," he said.

Praphon was alerted by a report from Phetchburi province that a group of teenagers was found to be allergic to the cosmetics and suffering from serious body rashes, particularly on the legs. Investigations found they had bought the whitening creams from local markets, beauty salons and groceries. Some got the creams from friends and relatives.

The allergies erupted after they'd used the creams about three times a day for six months to two years. He said provincial authorities were investigating if the cosmetics contained forbidden ingredients.

Sellers who put prohibited substances into cosmetics can face imprisonment of not more than one year or a fine of not over Bt60,000.

Meanwhile, Jaruwan Limsajjasakul, director of the fifth medical science centre in Samut Songkram, said officials had collected 11 samples of the suspected whitening creams in Phetchburi and found a high level of a prohibited substance, Clobetasol propionate, in all samples. The substance is used in medicine to cure serious skin diseases.

When consumers use it for a long time, their skin becomes thinner and they risk allergies like those affecting young people in Phetchburi, the director said.


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